Metformin HCL (Glucophage) For Type 2 Diabetes: Side Effects, Dosage, Mechanism Of Action | Brianne Chin, PharmD | RxEconsult
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Metformin HCL (Glucophage) for Diabetes: Side Effects, Dosage, Mechanism of Action Category: Diabetes by - June 27, 2014 | Views: 63740 | Likes: 1 | Comment: 0  

How well does metformin work?

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter US clinical trial with obese patients (metformin: N=141, placebo: N=145) with type 2 diabetes whose blood sugar was not controlled by diet and exercise alone (baseline fasting plasma glucose 240mg/dL), was given metformin treatment (up to 2550 mg/day) for 29 weeks. After 29 weeks, there was a significant mean net reduction in fasting and postprandial plasma glucose and HbA1c of 59 mg/dL, 83 mg/dL, and 1.8%, respectively, compared to the placebo group.

What are Metformin contraindications?

  • Metformin is contraindicated in patients with:
  • Renal disease 
  • Congestive heart failure requiring pharmacological treatment
  • Known hypersensitivity to metformin hydrochloride
  • Acute or chronic metabolic conditions such as diabetic ketoacidosis or metabolic acidosis.

Interesting Facts about metformin

  • Metformin is indicated for type 2 diabetes and is the only medication in the class of Biguanides.
  • Metformin is also used for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Metformin does not cause hypoglycemia (Blood glucose < 50-60mg/dL).
  • Metformin has favorable lipid effects and does not cause weight gain.
  • Metformin is the only diabetes drug shown to reduce the risk of heart-related problems and death.

What are metformin side effects?

The main side effects of metformin are diarrhea, stomach upset, or cramping. It is important to take metformin with food to reduce stomach-related side effects. A very rare side effect (<1 person per 100,000 patients taking metformin) is lactic acidosis (a buildup of lactic acid in your blood). Lactic acidosis occurs when patients experience increased blood lactic levels (>5 mmol/L), decreased blood pH, and electrolyte disturbances. People at risk for developing lactic acidosis include those with kidney problems, heart failure, or alcoholism. The rate of lactic acidosis is similar between metformin and other oral hypoglycemic medications.

Can metformin be used during pregnancy?

Metformin is in pregnancy category B. Although there are studies that suggest metformin is safe to use during pregnancy safety in pregnant women has not been established. Insulin is the preferred agent for treating pregnant diabetic women.

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